15 Historic Places In Mumbai To Take You Through Time

by Mrunal Mahajan
15 Historic Places In Mumbai To Take You Through Time

Mumbai has a rich ancient history, and the journey from Bombay to Mumbai is iconic! Whenever I am around the Fort area, I never fail to look at all the statues that have been sitting there for years, they all have a story to tell. The stories of how Bombay has transitioned, the stories of our freedom fighters, the stories of our ancestors. I don’t think we need movies or any TV Show to tell us how Mumbai has changed. A stroll through the streets of Mumbai will give you the raw picture. This city holds many tales be it the pouring rains, the dreadful terrorist attacks, the fight to win back Mumbai and the list goes on! The old historic monuments are the pride of the city and we are here to pay a tribute to these majestic places.

Here is a list of must-visit historic places in Mumbai!

1. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus was originally named as Victoria Terminus under the rule of Queen Victoria. Now, I also recently got to know that CSMT Railway station was originally build to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, it had been 15 years of her rule, and to mark that occasion this majestic site was built in the year 1887. In the year 1996, the name was changed to (CST) Chhatrapati Maharaj Terminus to honour Shivaji! CSMT is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, aren’t we all proud mama bears now? It is now one of the prime railway stations that connect the city to every possible corner.

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2. Gateway Of India

Gateway of India is one of the majestic places which not only has beautiful architecture but also holds great historical importance. Do you see the sea behind Gateway, it is a fishing area for Mumbaikars and before this monument was built. Gateway was originally build to commemorate the visit of the King of the United Kingdom but the construction didn’t start until 1915. After it was built completely, Gateway was used as a landing site by the Emperors who traveled by seaways to Mumbai. Today, it is one of the prominent places to visit in Mumbai and also the most crowded tourist attraction. It is one of the loved historic places in Mumbai.

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3. Elephanta Caves

Elephanta caves are a little on the outside of the city, you can take a ferry boat from Gateway to reach Elephanta Caves. The caves has a beautifully carved sculpture of Hindu gods and goddesses, and these were carved back in the medieval times. There are 5 humongous caves with Hindu gods and the other two have sculptures from Buddhist deities. You will find a lot of monkeys on the top hanging from tall trees. The entire place is surrounded by greenery and the view from the top of the caves is of the entire city. Even though it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Elephanta caves have defaced artwork and sculptures. It is one of the majestic and historic places in Mumbai.

Image Credits: BookMyShow

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4. Kanheri Caves

Kanheri Caves are located in Sanjay Gandhi National Park at Borivali and are majestic as they are a culmination of 109 caves. Like, Elephanta they also have sculptures of deities and most of them are influenced by the Buddhist culture. This is one of the places where you can go for a day out with family or friends, this place is a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city. The place is stacked with greenery and gives you a pleasant escape.

5. Taj Palace, Mumbai

Taj is not just any other 5-star restaurant in Mumbai, it was built in the year 1903. The legendary Taj Hotel has witnessed some of the most important events in the city. Taj hotel is also known as the ‘Taj’ (crown) of Mumbai. The majestic architecture of this hotel will leave you stunned. The hotel from inside is an absolute delight and it is one of those places where you just sit looking and appreciating the architecture. It has been a decade since the terrorist attacks and it still gives me chills knowing Taj was one of the targets, but Taj has come back like a Pheonix! Taj is one of the stunning hotels and historic places in Mumbai!

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6. Haji Ali Dargah

Haji Ali Dargah is a religious place for Muslims and every Eid there is a huge celebration, there are also regular prayers and namaz that happens here. This dargah is located in Worli, this religious place is an Indo- Islamic Architecture and holds great historical value. It is built on a tiny islet which is 500 meters from the coast of Worli.

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7. Film City, Goregaon

If you are a film fanatic, you should be at one of the locations where some classic films have been shot. The film city is a huge property, it is like a city in itself with mountains, gardens, and temples. To visit Mumbai and not visit the film city would be a complete waste. There are tours organized to visit this place and one can also watch live shooting that would be happening there at that time. The film city was built under the guidance of V. Shantaram who was of the iconic directors in India, and film city is now renamed as Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari in the year 2001 to commemorate the founder of Indian film Industry Dadasaheb Phalke.

Image Credits: IndiaIndiahip

8. Hutatma Chowk, Mumbai

Ever wondered what the statue next to Flora Fountain stands for? It marks the struggle for Samyukta Maharashtra Movement, the battle for Mumbai to be recognized as a Marathi speaking state. Hutatma Chowk honours the people who fought for it and lost their lives in the battle, more than 100 people died in the battle. It was because of them that Mumbai is a city is a part of Maharashtra and not Gujarat. Hutatma Chowk is not just any other statue it is one of the important historic places in Mumbai.

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हुतात्मा स्मारक… इ.स.१९५६ च्या नोव्हेंबरातील २१ तारखेची ती संध्याकाळ होती. सकाळपासून फ्लोरा फाउंटनच्या परिसरात तणावाचे वातावरण होते. राज्य पुनर्रचना आयोगाने महाराष्ट्राला मुंबई देण्याचे नाकारले होते. मराठी बाण्याची मुंबई या अन्यायाने खवळून उठली होती. सर्वत्र छोट्यामोठ्या सभांमधून त्याचा जळजळीत निषेध होत होता. याचा संघटित परिणाम म्हणून कामगार आणि पांढरपेशांचा एक विशाल मोर्चा, तेव्हाच्या विवेकशून्य सरकारचा निषेध करण्यासाठी फ्लोरा फाऊंटनासमोरील चौकात येणार होता. दुपार टळल्यानंतर, म्हणजे मुंबईतल्या शंभर-सव्वाशे कापडगिरण्यांमधील, कामगारांची चारची पहिली पाळी संपल्यानंतर गिरणगावातून मोर्चा निघेल, असा अंदाज होता. पण त्याला छेद देत पांढरपेशांचा प्रचंड जनसमुदाय, एका बाजूने चर्चगेट स्थानकाकडून व दुसऱ्या बाजूने बोरीबंदरकडून गगनभेदी घोषणा देत, फ्लोरा फाउंटनकडे जमू लागला. हा मोर्चा पोलिसी ताकद वापरून उधळला जाईल, असा अंदाज होताच. कारण फोर्ट भागात जमाव आणि सभाबंदी जारी केली होती. सर्व कार्यालयांतील महिला कर्मचाऱ्यांना घरी पाठविले होते. जमावबंदीचा भंग करून, मुंबईकर फ्लोरा फाउंटनाच्या चौकात सत्याग्रहासाठी ठाण मांडून बसले होते. त्यानंतर थोड्या वेळातच विपरीत घडले. सत्याग्रहींना उधळून लावण्यासाठी लाठीमार करण्यात आला. मात्र, तरीही ते चौकातून हटत नाहीत म्हटल्यावर पोलिसांना गोळीबाराचा आदेश देण्यात आला. मुंबई राज्याचे तत्कालीन मुख्यमंत्री मोरारजी देसाई यांचे "दिसताक्षणी गोळ्या" घालण्याचे पोलिसांना आदेश होते. प्रेक्षणीय फ्लोरा फाउंटनाच्या कारंज्यातील पाण्यासारख्याच शांततापूर्ण आंदोलन करणाऱ्या निदर्शकांच्या रक्ताच्या चिळकांड्या काळ्याभोर रस्त्यावर उडू लागल्या. संयुक्त महाराष्ट्राच्या लढ्यात जानेवारी, इ.स. १९५७ पर्यंत जे १०५ आंदोलक हुतात्मे झाले, त्या मालिकेची ही सुरुवात होती. या सर्व हुतात्म्यांच्या बलिदानापुढे व मराठी माणसाच्या आंदोलनामुळे काँग्रेसी सरकारला नमते घेऊन १ मे, इ.स. १९६० रोजी मुंबईसह संयुक्त महाराष्ट्राची स्थापना करावी लागली. त्यानंतर इ.स. १९६५मध्ये त्या जागी हुतात्मा स्मारकाची उभारणी झाली. (Information source; wikipedia) #maharashtraday #maharashtra_igers #_mig #itz_mumbai #mumbaimerijaan #insta_maharashtra #mumbaibizarre #everydaymumbai #mumbai_uncensored #mumbai_igers #nikonindiaofficial #NikonAsia #placestovisitinmumbai #huntforspot #jayostute_maharashtra #maharashtradesha #maharashtratourism #streetsofmaharashtra #_soimumbai

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Flora Fountain in the 1950s, from the collection of Francis Pritchett

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9. Mani Bhavan

This was the residence of Mahatma Gandhi for a brief period of time and it is situated in Gamdevi, Mumbai. Mani Bhavan was Gandhi’s Mumbai headquarters for about 17 years, from 1917 to 1934. It was not his personal residence and was hosted by his friend Revashankar Jagjeevan. The place is now preserved and all of Mahatma’s things like Charkha and his books. Now there is a whole timeline being laid out in Mani Bhavan all the photographs right from Chipkoo Movement!

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10. Taraporewala Aquarium

I visited Taraporewala as a kid and was stunned looking at the marine life and also the architecture from the inside as well as outside. It was built in the year 1951 and is one of the prime attractions of Mumbai.

Image Credits: Wikipedia

The aquarium was recently renovated and it is currently a 12-feet long and 180-degree acrylic glass tunnel. They have over 2000 fishes of over 400 species. It is located right alongside Marine Drive and can be looked at the best location to spend time with family.

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11. Siddhivinayak Temple

Siddhivinayaka Temple in Dadar is also known as the richest temple and it is also one of the oldest temples in Mumbai. The temple is a six-storeyed structure with a golden dome on the top. Here, people from all over the world come and visit, a lot of Bollywood celebrities can be seen here as during festivals and hence it is the most crowded and busiest temple. You will find a big queue on most days, but the best time to visit Siddhivinayak will be when there are no festivals around the corner.

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12. Mount Mary Church, Bandra

Mount Mary Church in Bandra is a very iconic location and should be on your list for places to visit in Mumbai. Built-in the year 1721, the church is over 100 years old. They believe praying with a true heart, makes your wishes come true. A lot of people believe in the church and come here to regularly visit it. If not for praying, you can at least come here to appreciate the beauty of the church. With Roman architecture, the church stands out in stark contrast in the bylanes of Bandra. You will find a lot of people that come here just to click photos against this stunning monument.

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13. Rajabai Clock Tower

The majestic Rajabai Tower is located in Fort area of Mumbai and the tower is a part of World Heritage Sites 2018. The tower is a blend of Venetian and Goth architecture styles making it look like one of the spectacular towers in Mumbai. The tower was built by an English architect George Gilbert Scoot and it is similar to the Big Ben in London. In the initial years, the tower was the tallest structures in the city, but later it was taken over by other buildings. Premchand Roy had funded the entire tower and hence it is named after his mother Rajabai.

Image Credits: Mumbai Magic

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14. Marine Drive

Queen’s Necklace or Marine Drive is definitely one of the best places to visit in Mumbai. Marine Drive is a 3.6-kilometre stretch that runs parallel to the Arabian sea. This long boulevard is the heart of the city. Marine Drive is popularly known as ‘Queen’s Necklace’ because in the night if you view it from a distance or from an elevated place, it looks like a necklace! Interestingly, Marine Drive was a result of a failed reclamation project and is over 100 years old. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mumbai.

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15. Bandra Worli Sea Link

The very first sea link bridge in Mumbai that connects Bandra which falls in the Western Suburbs to Worli which is in South of the city. The height of this bridge is 413 feet and it is 66 feet long and is it is an architectural marvel. This majestic bridge is adored by Mumbaikars, it is one of a kind in the city. One of the astonishing things is that the construction of this bridge started in the year 2000 and ended in the year 2010 in the month of March. To get a better view of the bridge you can look at it from the Bandra Fort which gives you a clear look at it.

Bandra Worli Sea Link

Do let us know in the comments below if we have missed out on any historic places in Mumbai.